Climate Signals in Groundwater and Surface Water System: Spectral Analysis of Hydrologic Processes

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Contract Period:

7/1/2005 - 6/30/2007

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  • Hector Bravo, UW-Milwaukee
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A central theme in water resources management is the matching of water supply and demand, yet the effects of climatic variability on water availability have been largely ignored. Climatic cycles can augment or diminish human-induced stresses. Dramatic changes in the system can occur during times when climate cycles of different periods align. The State of Wisconsin and its partners maintain a ground-water observation well (GWOW) Network that is not widely used in societal decisions because translation of insight from the hydrologic data into an entity that decision makers can use is lacking. In addition, a remarkable data set hydrologic time series, longer than a decade for some variables, has been collected in the Trout Lake Basin in Northern Wisconsin, within the framework of the NTL/ LTER and WEBB projects. These two existing data sets allow a unique opportunity to evaluate groundwater dynamics, and its interaction with surface water. In addition to climatic effects, a persistent question in modeling and data collection is that of the level of detail required to capture relevant processes. Understanding of climate and related transient effects in the hydrologic data sets identified can contribute to the development of strategies for long-term management of groundwater, and to develop improved simulation models. The project findings can help to explain how climaticvariability affects the relations between surface water and groundwater by isolating andquantifying the effect of climate-induced variability at different scales and across data types.

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